Build your Life and Leadership Through Listening

I’m a listener that used listening to control people. If I ask the questions, I’m controlling the conversation. If I’m controlling the conversation, I’m controlling you. Does that make you uncomfortable? It should.

It took me years to realize I used listening as a protective devise to keep people at arm’s length. Aubrey Hepburn captured how I felt. “I don’t want to be alone; I just want to be left alone.”

Keeping people at arm’s length doesn’t create connections.

Basic listening:

Listening is a gift. It’s not unusual, after spending time with someone, for them to say, “Thanks for listening.”

I listen to understand because I love learning. Listening to understand is good – it takes you further than listening to speak.

Intermediate listening:

Listening to make people feel understood is better than listing to understand. It’s a shift from you to them. But there’s more…

Advanced listening:

Listening to connect is the best listening of all; it’s about you and them.

I recently ran into a retired judge at Starbucks and we started talking while standing in line. I started listening to connect, not simply to understand. Part way through the conversation I said, “It’s so encouraging for me to see a person who spent their life dealing with the darker side of society have such a positive attitude.”

I’d been asking him questions about his latest project when his positive attitude washed over me.

We stood in the middle of Starbucks for twenty minutes talking.

Listening to understand may drain your energy – you can only understand so much. Listening to connect, however, energizes.

Method or vision:

Basic and intermediate listening are methods. Listening to connect is an energizing vision.

My coach Bob Hancox from Tekara taught me this by listening.

If you’d like someone to listen to you, drop Bob a note at:

What’s your listening strategy?


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